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NOW With Alex Wagner

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

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Virginia 6, Us 6, Israel 6, Washington 5, U.n. 5, Libya 4, Iran 4, Obama 4, Joe Biden 4, Mitt Romney 4, Romney 3, Lois 3, The Home Depot 3, New York 3, Massachusetts 3, Iraq 3, David Leonhardt 3, Paul Ryan 3, Garth 3, Benjamin Netanyahu 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    September 27, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

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mitt romney has campaigned as many things this election cycle, governor, olympics chair, ceo, and he's now added one more gig to his resume, human pretzel. it's thursday, september 27th and this is "now." joining me today, favorite impoverty from the united kingdom, msnbc political analyst richard wolffe, former adviser to hillary clinton, deputy new york city city mayor howard wolfson, politico senior political reporter lois romano and bloomberg editor, josh tyrangiel. president obama and governor romney are chasing each other's shadows. for the second day in a row conditions are scheduled to have dueling rallies in the same swing state. today's rallies each in virginia. the president is running a little bit late. president obama's campaign responding to romney's new straight to camera ad with one
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of its own a two-minute living room pitch airing in seven states. >> during the last weeks of the campaign, there will be debates, speeches, and more ads. but if i could sit down with you, in your living room or around the kitchen table, here's what i'd say -- when i took office we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month and mired in iraq. today i believe that as a nation we are moving forward again. >> yesterday in ohio, governor romney also seemed to be in a duel with himself. morning rally he condemned the affordable care act as government invasion. >> he also thinks that the government can do a better job than you in the way you live your life and obama care is point number one. it's the example number one he wants to put bureaucrats between you and your doctor, believes the government should tell you what kind of insurance you have to have. >> the very same day, specifically eight hours and 15 minutes later, romney made the case for, wait for it, the
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president's signature piece of legislation. >> throughout this campaign, as well, we've talked about my record of massachusetts, don't forget, i got everybody in my state insured. 100% of the kids in our state have health insurance. i don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record. >> yes, that was mitt romney making the case for government-sponsored health care, the one part of his record he wasn't supposed to mention until he was safely ensconced in 1600 pennsylvania avenue. one thing the republican party agreed it's firmly against, the one thing that mitt romney has said he will definitely, without question, no ifs, ands, or buts repeal on day one of his presidency or, you know, maybe not. >> don't forget, i got everybody in my state insured, 100% of the kids in our state have health insurance. i don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care to the people of the country as
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the record. >> 40 days from election day, five days from the first debate. and governor romney still can't decide if he is for or against universal health care. how ar howard wolfson, how are moments like that still possible? >> well, because mitt romney's been running away from his record through the entirety of the campaign but every so often the muscle memory pops up. and it's probably something on some level that he is proud of. it's his single accomplishment as governor of massachusetts, something he worked very hard to do as governor of ma m. assachu and probably wished he could have spoke about it more in the context of the campaign but did not. it's difficult to run for office if you can't talk about your signal accomplishment in pub public life. >> this is the scene in "a few good men" where jack nicholson
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loses it you can't handle the truth, i had health care legislation, i liked it. it's a difficult position but i guess i'm surprised by the fact we know romney's ensconced in debate prep for the last couple of days, he has a big,ing about day next week and, yet he's still saying this stuff. >> may be why he's a tricky debate opponent, he'll take every side. but the quandary he's in now, and it's been the position he's had throughout, but re-elections are about hiring and firing. they have bedone a good job of fire, the american people say they're not happy with direction of the country they don't like the president's performance on the economy but that's picked up recently. the hiring question is where he has singularly failed and numbers are getting worse. every time he tries to make the case and strengthen his case for hire me, he's weakening the case for firing the other guy. he did it in that ad when he's speaking to camera, the ad that
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got released the other dade, he said the president and i both care about people, and that's his way of saying i'm a good guy, too, hire me, but in saying that he makes it much harder to fire the other guy because the other guy cares about people. and the same is true with health care. if you think his job was good on spreading health care to everyone, that's less of a reason to fire the other guide. so his problem is, every time now he makes the case that he's a better hiring position, he's making a worse case about firing the other guy. >> i mean, also, lois, he spent such a large -- romney spent a significant time trying to reassure the conservative base he's a conservative. and then you have moments like that where he's touting massachusetts health care reform and it probably undermines everything he said in the past. i will draw everyone's attention to the comments of a newton leroy gingrich who is giving advice to mitt romney ahead of the debates.
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this is what newt gingrich said last night on cnn. >> they seem to have a overly methodical model where they go out and keep saying the same thing and it done -- the world's too fluid, too sophisticated for that, it's clearly something that you can go out and you can communicate and you can do dramatically better than romney's currently doing. >> lois, everybody in the republican party has advice for mitt romney ahead of the debate. rich lowry writes new yoo inven will save romney, it all comes down to him. what do you make of that? >> what it gets down to now, we have 40 days and can they turn around the narrative? it's looking less and less likely. obama people laid out a narrative he was out of touch that he was too rich, he was all of these things and then he played right into it with the 47% comment. and i think that's resonated with people. i've heard it from teen averages from venders, you know, people
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are remembering that and i don't know that he can turn it around because there's a migration of voters now. >> josh, when you look at health care stuff and romney's inability to sell himself better, everybody's talking about the campaign that's misguided but this fundamentally at center of all of this is mitt romney and you see someone embattled with himself. >> two things going on particular at this moment. one is we're 40 days out and people are punch drunk. i have tremendous amount of empathy on people working on the campaigns, they've been at it for years. all of a sudden, particularly the republican side you're seeing outside strategists saying no, we can do it better. unforced error like romney, these guys are exhausted. you can see for the first time romney looking exhausted. the other thing that's unique to the campaign, there's a term in chess that you cannot make a move that doesn't make your position worse. from the beginning, because of
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affordable health care and romney's stance in massachusetts, unlike every other republican candidate, he's been zugzwagged, they're trying to put it on obama. running out of time. everybody to richard's point, they heard, we think you should fire this guy, what are you going to do? now that they have to get into specifics, every move alienates one side or the other, and you run out of votes. what you're seeing this this sort of policy water torture that he is going to have to get through, if you're a more artful campaigner you can tell a story that will help you but i don't see a way out of that. >> the romney candidacy is representative of a party in crisis. the problem is republicans -- for the first time ever, howard, the democrats are owning foreign policy and national security and they're all on message. looked at super pac messages. republicans are dealing out different messages depending where they are, who the super pac is and a romney campaign doing it's own mixes message.
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>> look at polling acro cros cross-count cross-country, at federal and local level, republicans across the board have taken a hit in the last two or three weeks. i think it began with todd akins' comments in missouri where people say, they're too extreme on social issues, this makes me anxious, specially women and followed up with romney's comments about the 47%, people who weren't concerned about the social issues said that's making me uncomfortable on the economic issues and this resonated across the board. you have a brand in some crisis and republicans are increasingly nervous at all levels. you hear some chatter that some of the big money folks will decide to pull money from the romney super pacs and begin shoring up the house of representatives' pacs and senate pacs in the hope of saving something. >> donors have been told for months three inflection points for this -- for the contest to change. one is a vip pick, which the
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romney team had, second convention, the third is debate he's over to, right now, richard. >> that's not rocket science. i know what donors are going for their money but there are three bullets in this one and they have shot two of them. the debate, you know, debate for a challenger is about crossing the presidential bar. he's got to cross the presidential bar, some of that happens because you stand on stage next to a president. but you've got to go in his case, a knockout blow. numbers will change. numbers changed a lot for john ker kerry, came back through debates two and three. >> john kerry still lost. >> policy speeches at this stage is very, very hard, not just to ingest for the voters but to break through for the candidates. you -- what we started out with the election republicans wanted it to be a referendum on obama. to pick up howard's point, it went from being a referendum on obama to a choice between the
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two parties and there is a danger it's a referendum on the republican party. >> yeah. >> and that's so far from where they need to be. one great performance isn't going to fix that. >> doesn't help if you have a candidate who isn't quite sure where he stands on one major of the major planks of the party. governor romney and congressman paul ryan are running like their republican predecessors on the promise of tax cuts. does cutting taxes fuel economic growth? new york sometimes david leonhardt explains why the good times may not necessarily roll next on "now." bob... oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs.
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president obama and i both care about poor and middle class families. the difference is my policies will make things better for them. we shouldn't measure compassion by how many people are on welfare. we should measure compassion by how many people are able to get off welfare and get a good paying job. >> that was a new ad from team romney, aiming to repair the havoc wrought about his infamous 47% comment as romney tries to show his compassionate side. yesterday he seemed to throw some cold water on his campaign promise to give a big across the board tax cut, perhaps a tacit acknowledgement the proposal had been based on funny, which is to say nearly impossible, arithmetic. >> individual income taxes ones i want to reform make them simpler, bring the rates down. don't expect a huge cut, because i'm going to lower exemptions
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but by bringing rates down we'll let small businesses keep more money so they could hire more people. >> mob dubious, cutting taxes will spur economic growth. joining us "new york times" d.c. bureau chief david leonhardt. a pleasure to have you on the program. you've been doing incredibly informative reporting in the new york times i want to focus on. there's a chart that you had in a recent article that showed the effects of tax cuts on economic growth over the last 40 years, 30 years. and its a downward slope. tell us a little bit more about that and the great republican hypothesis that slashing taxes leads to economic growth here in the united states. >> yes, as i mentioned in the column, i brought a version of that chart to see paul ryan a year or so ago when hes and a member of congress and, like a lot of journalists i spoke to him regularly about economic
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pr policy and said, how do you square this chart with the idea tax cuts are the most important factor in creating economic growth? you don't need a chart, think about the last 20 years or so. h.w. bush first, then bill clinton raised taxes, all of these predictions of doom, instead we had the '90s boom and george w. bush cut taxes and there were predictions of prosperity and instead we had the slowest decade since world war ii and then the crisis. none of this is to say that tax cuts cause economic problems or tax increases lead to prosperity. i don't know anyone who seriously makes that argument. the question is, how important are tax cuts to economic growth? and i don't know how you look at recent history and say that relatively modest changes in the top marginal tax rate is the main force driving the american economy. >> yet, it is the sort of magical ball, the ball, once you slash taxes for top income earners everything is going to
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magically right itself. i think it's -- josh, i thought it was an interesting -- that sound we played from romney, kind of backing away from his announcement that everybody's tax rates are going to go down. it is, i think, an acknowledgement the tax plan that he put out is math mat kaly impossible. to balance the budget and cut rates you have to close loopholes on middle income earnings which means their taxes go up. >> it's responsive to the effective line in the speech about take two tax cuts and call me in the morning emphasizing over the past 40 years the republican solution has been a tax cut and david's chart proves the point. years and years ago, decades, when rate was 70% top earner rate, cut from 70% to 50%, yes, makes a really big difference. now that we're cutting from 38 to 35 or 35 to 32 or 32 to 31, you're not getting much bang for your buck. really each incremental piece
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that you take off from the revenue matters in the budget. i think they're not stupid about this, they know there's not a lot to be gained from saying we're going cut you an extra 3%. they may try to get in front of it or erase it as quickly as possible. >> the bigger issue, as we talk about, putting more money in the pockets of a higher income earner, the question of income inequality in the country. is is underdiscussed i think in the american media but the median household income fell 1. 5% to $50,000, which is 8% lower than it was in 2007. you look at the income gap, it rose in 2011. the trend lines here are disturbing, in terms of the stability of the american economy, and the growth of the middle class. >> yeah, we've had two things going on over the last 30 years. one we've had much bigger increases in pretax incomes at the top than in any other point in the spectrum and, two, we've had much bigger cuts in real
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effective tax rates from the federal government for people at the top than for anyone else. you combine these two things and that has turbo thcharged inequa. romney is reacting to that. he's said clearly i'm not going to increase the tax burden of the middle class. i think the problem is that he hasn't given any details that allow us to see a plan that does add up. as he said yesterday, he's not promising a tax cut, he's promising tax reform. the question that people have, the reason reasonable question, let's see details. >> what does mitt romney, what does the republican party define as middle class? if you look at martin feldstein's analysis, a romney guy you have to raise taxes on people making between $100,000 and $200,000 a year which is in certain cities decidedly middle class the definition of middle class is bipartisan issue. president obama defines it anyone making up to $200,000. if you're making 100,000, 150,000, 200,000 you're in the
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top few percentage points of this country. even in expensive places people making $150,000 have a pretty tenuous claim on being middle class when you look at the numbers. >> thank you to david leonhardt of "the new york times." great to have you onthe program. everybody should be checking out your reporting and making t shirts with those graphs to remind themselves of the realities of tax cuts. after the break, a new gang of six hopes to stop taxmagedon. ally bank. why they're always there to talk. i love you, james. don't you love me? i'm a robot. i know. i know you're a robot! but there's more in you than just circuits and wires! uhhh. (cries) a machine can't give you what a person can. that's why ally has knowledgeable people
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>> that was governor mitt romney in virginia moments ago discussing the so-called sequester. meanwhile, there's a new gang in town, unfortunately it's still made up of six senators and still trying to convince colleagues they have a plan to fix the nation's debt problems and show the american public they're not just blowing smoke. three republicans, three democrats, warning about the perils of the sequester due to go into effect january 27bd. in a letter to senate leadership the gang argues any solution will require real compromise and, quote, all ideas should be put on the table and considered. in order to avoid 109 billion in spending cuts, half to the department of defense, quote, we are committed to working together to help forge a balanced bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid damage to our national security, important domestic priorities, and our economy. joining us now from manchester, new hampshire one of the gang's members, democratic senator j n
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jeanne shaheen. great to have you on the program. >> mice to be with you. i would say, alex, it's not a new gang of six, i think but it does reflect a number of different groups that have been meeting and talking in the senate about the need to address sequestration, and i was part of the six of us who signed that letter in talking about what we could do to try and reassure the public, to reassure the markets, that we understand we've got to address this problem and we've got to do it in a way that provides certainty for businesses, for consumers, so that we have a long-term solution. >> senator, i want to get your thoughts, it is, i think, laudable that this is a bipartisan gang, as other gangs have been. four of the gang members, for lack of a better term, voted for the budget control act, which of course put the sequesters in place. what do you make of this movement now on -- by folks on the right, you saw mitt romney earlier this hour trying to make there's a democratic issue?
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this is something that the president somehow did on his own or just put this on the plate of democrats in congress and not take any sort of -- not -- to say they're not accountable for the votes? >> well, the goal of the sequester was to try to put some pressure on ourselves to address a long-term balanced bipartisan solution to deal with the debt and deficits in this country. as you point out, when we pass the budget control act, that included the sequester, it was a very strong bipartisan vote and the senate and in congress. it was signed off on by the leadership on both sides and both houses. and so, i think this is an effort that we need to follow through on. the goal was never to let the sequester to go into effect, never to do across the board cuts. i don't know anybody who thinks that's a good idea. so what we need to do is roll up our sleeves and come up with a
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long-term solution that addresses all aspects of the budget, the domestic side, the defense side, the mandatory programs and the revenue side. >> senator, i want to ask you one quick question, before we go to our panel on this. in terms of leverage here it would seem like the democrats have potentially, potentially, the upper hand. if the president is re-elected, he can make a deal in the lame duck, he cannot sign on to anything and force a deal after january 2nd, but fundamentally, they may have more power in this. what is the advantage to hammering something out now? there's not a lot of willingness from both sides to come to the table before the election. >> listen, i don't think this should be about who has the upper hand. this should be what can we put in place that's going to be good for the country, that's a long-term deal so we're not revisiting the deficit and debts every year. that's what we need to be debating. we need to look at what we can do as i said that's comprehensive, that looks at all
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aspects of the budget, that minimizes the negative impact on both the defense and the domestic side. and we should be working together to do that. >> josh tyrangiel has a question for you, senator. >> senator, how would you characterize the conversations? i'm interested in the mechanic of how these things move forward. are you guys meeting in somebody's office, are you cordial, are things all on the table? are there certain things everybody's announced as let's not touch this? can you talk about how it works? >> well, as i said, this was a group of six of us who met, five of us met fairly regularly for a couple of weeks. it reflects, i think, a number of groups that have been meeting within the senate, trying to see where there are areas of agreement, looking at what we need to do to be as comprehensive as possible to reduce, as many of the potential negative impacts as we can, and come to some sort of agreement.
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you foe, when we pass the budget control act back last august, i heard from a lot of people in new hampshire, and they said two things. they said, we think you all ought to work together in washington to get this done and, secondly, we don't mind sacrificing or sharing in the burden as long as it's fair for everybody. and i think those are parameters we ought to be looking at in washington. >> thank you to jeanne shaheen. wish you the best of luck in getting something didn't before we reach taxmageddon. >> absolutely. >> benjamin netanyahu set to address the u.n. general assembly in a few moments. a live shot at u.n. world headquarters in new york city. we'll bring you his remarks live ahead on "now." with the spark miles card from capital one, thor's couture gets the most rewards of any small business credit card. your boa! [ garth ] thor's small business earns double miles on every purchase, every day!
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after the break, bibi takes the global stage at israeli prime minister prepared to set a clear red line for iran in the speech to the u.n. today. we'll take a look at thin red line complicating middle east ties next.
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attack was driven by or carried out by an al qaeda affiliate in northern libya. i guess the question, as a senior political reporter at politico is, is this -- is this -- how do you assess the white house's handling of this in materi terms of the message and the back and forth of susan rice and the president. >> so it's hard right now to kind of move that around a little bit. i think that they could have had huge issues right after the attack, vis-a-vis security, vis-a-vis egypt if mitt romney hadn't gotten in the way. >> right. >> i think that was a big deal he got in the way because that distracted the conversation for at least ten days, him attacking the president. i think now, people have moved back to the economy a little bit. i don't know that people are foe cutting on this as much. >> richard, there's going to be on october 22nd the third debate
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focused on foreign policy and you can bet the republicans will use this against the president, perhaps we'll have more detailed. how much has he been weakened by the benghazi attack? >> not hugely, to be honest because he struck, as lois said a dignified tone, the president's response was what you expect from the head of state, from national leader. you know, this is a -- clearly an incredibly messy situation, events were messy, libya has no central government that has effective control over its territory. argue that gadhafi didn't either. in a chaotic situation, it's natural that it takes time for the facts to emerge. you're also talking about a number of different splinter groups at work here. and, by the way, remarkable demonstrations that actually were riots in and of themselves pro-american and anti-militia led to the deaths of some of the militia members, as a result of those attacks. so you know, libya, even under normal conditions, was chaotic
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and dysfunctional. now, even more so. i don i don't know that you can credibly going into the e debat saying america should withdraw, we have no role in democracy spreading let's just not what you want to hear from a presidential candidate. on the other hand, for this president to say, there is a way out, we are not going to be committed in large numbers or seeing future either career service people die or military folks die for decades to come, that's also an important thing that he has to execute in that debate. >> the "wall street journal" has a pointed editorial today about intelligence failures and the fact that we now are evacuating our counterterrorism, intelligence officers in libya and quoting one source saying we had our eyes poked out there, we doesn't foe what's happening on the ground because of the echo does. other part of the middle east part of the question is iran and israel. we're awaiting bibi netanyahu's
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speech to the u.n. how much do you think the iran question is something that mitt romney can gain some points on, given his opacity on what he would do? >> it's unprecedented. i think the last time that a democrat had this kind of advantage in foreign policy might have been fdr. i mean, it is very unusual for the democratic candidate for president to have this kind of advantage on military affair, on foreign policy, as barack obama has over mitt romney. so, the republicans will try to make an issue of benghazi, they'll try to make an issue of iran. i don't think it's sticking. and i think the successful kill of bin laden did this president an enormous amount of political good, not just in this area, but almost across the board in terms of making him seem strong and resolute, and it becomes very difficult for the republicans to make the case against him. >> well, it also is difficult to make the case, it begets the question, what are you going to do? i mean are you going to -- are you going to put boots on the
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ground it iran? there's absolutely no appetite in terms of american public opinion in terms of intervention in the middle east. >> to howard's point, the issue of mubarak is out and the transition from american ally to new leadership, while messy, happened. gadhafi's done. there's a lot to point to, when the president says you've got to trust me, there is a lot to point to in his favor. at the same time this is a referee kind of role. look at jeff goldburg, authority on american reporting about the issue, he said from the beginning that people are underestimating the resolve of the obama administration to go to war in iran on nukes and they've consistently done it. because the president's deft saying the diplomat ex-thiic t b public has an understanding, there's trust there and it's difficult for an opponent to make hay, the president's
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communicated i'm going to say one thing, i'm going to say another thing, our goal is to make sure that we get what we want out of the situation that there's not a war in the middle east. >> i think the american public appreciates a now onned position. richard, how much do you think the american public understands the bull herbiishness of bib netanyahu, bilateral meetings in the oval office to meeting with congress and support of basically tacit support of mitt romney's candidacy? >> for a starter it's hard for any foreign leader, even one that generally americans feel favorably to that country, it's very hard for any foreign leader to intervene and try and nudge the balance of a domestic election. it risks hugely backfiring. actually the bush administration tried to do in a german election around the time of the run-up to the war in iraq.
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really do really doesn't go down well. germans feel strongly for america. to the extent that anyone heard it i don't think it's successful. there is clearly a very committed audience that follows every statement out of israel very closely, that's not just jewish voters but there are broad areas of interest in this country around middle eastern politics. you know, i don't think the fundamental relationship between the two countries has changed. americans do feel supportive of what israel needs, and will rise to israel's defense when needed. this is different, though, given the experience in iraq, there is not just a huge amount of reticence and strong talk. no difference in talk between bush and obama saying we will not tolerate a nuclear armed iran but doing something about it is a tremendous burden for any president moving forward. >> we were, waiting for bibi netanyahu to take the stage.
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coming up, joe biden tweets a reminder to voters 40 days to go. we'll look at accompanying photograph with that tweet and hear your remarks from president obama after the break. why should our wallets tell us what our favorite color is? every room deserves to look great. and every footstep should tell us we made the right decision. so when we can feel our way through the newest, softest, and most colorful options... ...across every possible price range... ...our budgets won't be picking the style. we will. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. right now get $37 basic installation on all special order carpet. as part of a heart healthy diet. that's true. ...but you still have to go to the gym. ♪ the one and only, cheerios
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oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking.
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you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners. i don't think we can get very far with leaders who write off half of the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives. i travel around a lot in virginia and across this country, i don't meet a lot of victims. >> president obama speaking in virginia moments ago, referencing governor romney's 47% comments. president's speech comes as vice president biden tweeted this picture writing, 40 days.
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let's do this thing. lois, i feel like we're seeing a very i use the term swaggerific but a highly confident obama campaign. it is, as we were talking during the break, amazing how much the 47% video has been an inflection point, a real i think turning point in the entire race. >> it's been absolutely amazing. part of it, we were talking about, is this idea that people are astounded that these words would come out of his mouth, even in a private setting. there are no private settings. and they were disdainful. i mean they weren't just fact. they just had a kind of lilt to them that was disdainful. and there are a lot of people out there that are not professional welfare recipients. >> yes. >> people who painfully had to go and get a handout because something happened in their life and it's hard for them to digest this. i will tell you about the swagger. they are not really swaggering. they are terrified of
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complacence. they know that anything can happen on a dime. they beat it into their staff and to their volunteers, do not get complacent, it is not over. >> one of the things that we should not overlook is joe biden's incredible effort to restore the position of vice president to wing man in chief. >> literally. >> quayle was not, bush had a difficult time with it. this is a guy, look at convention speech, look at that, he is like, ralph malph and potsie to richie. he's gone out of his way to make sure we know what the job is. >> he's like goose in "top gun" standing on the steps of air force 2 in aviator glasses saying "let's do this thing." biden's gaffe gate, he's not lost an hour of time. >> they are embracing the image. >> yes. >> you go with what you got. and people find him endearing and charming. it's a great story in the "new
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york" magazine a couple of weeks ago by john heilemann if you read it, you come away thinking the guy is who he is he's going to say some things you might not look but he's real, people relate to it. what a rehabilitation if he had to do, if he had to do anything, he's done. >> his speech had the highest ratings during convention week, highest number of viewers. >> interesting. i don't pay attention to ratings. i don't know what they are. >> we call you on that. >> the joe biden example is a good one when we talk about mitt romney what he hasn't done in the election cycle. if you said i'm a boring business guy but i know how to fix things and believe in conservative principles that we have forgotten in last 15 years and i'm not afraid to do so. if he had come out with courage and honesty and conviction this whole thing could have been different. not that it's said and done. >> no, it's not, certainly isn't. two tracks he could have taken, one the reform line. washington's he broken and you
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need people who have nothing to do with washington to come in and clean this up, i'm the cleanup guy, and so is my running mate. well that would not lead you to paul ryan. you don't want anyone from washington, pick another business guy or governor, at least, that track is closed. he could have said -- could have for want of a better term, tthe berlusconi. >> bonga party? >> i'm successful, i'm wealthy, you want to be me. >> right. >> le couldn't pull it off for cultural reasons and maybe character reasons, too. he's left being a bit of a governor and a bit of a businessman and a bit of everything to everyone. that's actually really who he is. this isn't a marketing thing. that's what mitt romney is. >> he has a problem today that he had at the beginning of the campaign. he can't talk about his time in business because he can't explain what he did and people think all he did was throw people out of work. he can't talk about his time as governor because his single
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accomplishments something republicans don't like and he can't talk about his faith because nef nerver figured out way. there's not a lot to talk about. >> exactly. i will say, in terms of the berlusco berlusconi, in terms of the wealth discussion, you love it i love it blah, blah, blah, mitt romney's never seemed enamored of the trappings ofwell. his wife says -- i think he likes being successful but i'm not sure he's enjoying being wealthy the way people typically enjoy being wealthy. this is someone ann romney says comes home and turns off the hot water heaters. >> the car elevator is to hide the cars. >> wait a minute. >> it's designed to hide the cars. >> you don't see it. >> but it's to hide the cars not to show them off in the driveway. >> judgment question, who builds a house like that in the middle of a presidential campaign? >> good yes.
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>> john edwards. >> also gets $500 hair cut. >> we know what happened to him. >> john kerry had a wealth issue, too. i think it's a good point, he's not a smooth rich guy. so you know if they're going to lean into this, when you release the tax returns and ask, why did you only pay 14%, i couldn't pay less. >> right. >> right. not because i decided to take fewer deductions because i wanted to keep a promise, no. if you're going to be a guy who really believes in the free market and in everybody's ability to keep as much money as possible and that's what's going to lead to growth, you've got to commit. what howard's point is you're seeing a lack of commitment to any of the one directions because there are demons at the end. monsters in each direction. >> yeah. >> tackle them sometime. 40 days left if you're not going to tackle them now, you're not going to win. >> i will say, this goes back to opening of the show, which that is mitt romney has proven himself to be a human pretzel. i will also say that if there's someone on the national
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political stage that could be a really good wealthy dude, it's joe biden. imagine the lamborghinis? i can. >> the house parties. >> exactly. >> we'd all be invited. >> i'll stop it there before there's a lawsuit. thanks to richard, howard, lois and josh. i'll be on a short weekend trip to jupiter this weekend. ari will take the reins for me tomorrow joined by melissa harris-perry and joan walsh, jeff mason and the buzzy ben smith. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. i'm meteorologist bill karins with your travel forecast. few areas of rain but many airports will be fine for travels today. a period of rain heading off the
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mid-atlantic coast during the day today. more rain to develop in areas of oklahoma and especially here in southern missouri. typical afternoon thunderstorms down there in florida. have a great thursday. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role
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throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has more of 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," the battle for virginia, both candidates in the old dominion today with mitt romney attacking defense cuts, though both parties in congress agreed to them. >> i happen to subscribe to reagan's maxim that peace comes through strength.
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i want to have a military that's so strong, no one wants to test it. >> president obama also in virginia, near the naval base. the heart of the military establishment in the tide water. >> you know, during campaign season, you always hear a lot about patriotism. well, you know what? it's time for a new economic patriotism. an economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class. >> at the u.n., israel's prime minister is about to speak today with an ultimatum to iran. a day after iran's president denounced military threated from israel in his speech to the general assembly. plus -- done deal. the replacements get sacked after the nfl and referees strike a deal to end the lockout. and magna what? britain's prime minister david cameron flunks british history when letterman asks him to explain what